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June 29 2011

Breaking News: Appellate Court Rules ObamaCare Constitutional

Hadley Heath

This blog is cross-posted at HealthCareLawsuits.org.

The Thomas More Law Center lost its appeal as judges ruled 2-1 in favor of the individual mandate of ObamaCare today in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.  Read the opinion here.

This marks the first Appellate Court ruling on ObamaCare.  Other decisions are pending in the Fourth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits. 

Here are some reactions from legal scholars on today's ruling:

From Ilya Shapiro, Constitutional Law Scholar, Cato Institute:

Today's split decision was an exercise in overzealous judicial deference, not by the author of the majority opinion, Judge Boyce Martin, who regularly rubberstamps misuses of federal power, but by concurring Judge Jeffrey Sutton, who avoided the logical implications of this ruling and punted the main issue to the Supreme Court.  Under a document establishing a government of enumerated and therefore limited powers, the burden is on that government to prove that it has the power to do something, not on the plaintiffs to disprove that power.  Never has the Supreme Court ratified the federal power to force someone to buy a product in the marketplace under the guise of regulating commerce.  Indeed, never, not even during the height of the New Deal, had Congress asserted such a power-until the health insurance mandate. Read more here.

From Stephen B. Presser, Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law:

The Sixth Circuit's decision today, upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's requirement that all Americans buy health insurance, or pay a penalty, is disappointing, in that if the two majority judges are  correct, it means that our system of federalism and our Tenth Amendment is no more.  This was put succinctly by Judge Graham, writing in dissent to today's decision, when he stated that "If the exercise of power is allowed and the mandate upheld, it is difficult to see what the limits on Congress's Commerce Clause authority would be. . . .  Such a power feels very much like the general police power that the Tenth Amendment reserves to the States and the people.  A structural shift of that magnitude can be accomplished legitimately only through constitutional amendment."  Judge Graham gets it right, and unfortunately, the panel's majority gets it wrong.  The friends of the Constitution can only hope that the United States Supreme Court, which must ultimately decide this question, will side with Judge Graham and with the Constitution itself.

Stay tuned for more updates...

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